‘Shocking error ‘sees UK junior doctors offered wrong jobs

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

HR departments must not underestimate the importance of smart recruitment, experts have warned, following a blunder that saw up to 1,500 junior doctors in the UK erroneously offered jobs that were subsequently withdrawn. People Management reports that an error in the recruitment process overseen by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) left a swathe of doctors across the UK in limbo over the bank holiday weekend.

Up to 1,500 junior doctors in their third year of specialist training attended job interviews last month and were awarded a score determining how likely they were to get their choice of hospital and speciality, before being offered jobs.

However, last week the RCP realised that an error in transferring data between computer systems had led to a significant number of candidates being credited with the wrong score and either being offered the wrong roles or being offered a job when they should not have been eligible for one.

Michael Johnson-Ellis – MD of specialist recruitment consultancy Healthier Recruitment – slammed the scale of the blunder as “shocking”. “You only have to look at the processes of commercial or private organisations to realise that 1,500 misplaced job offers down to the error of an individual just wouldn’t happen, because there would be a smarter HR system that would manage these levels of offers and the sign-off process would be tracked and monitored in a smarter way,” he is quoted in the report as saying.

Johnson-Ellis added that the error highlighted the need to invest in more effective permanent recruitment and outsourcing. “The NHS is already doing so much with so little – there is so much pressure on individuals to turn tasks like this around, and errors are made because teams are so stretched,” he said.

Tom Hadley, director of policy at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, added: “We face global competition for key healthcare roles, which is why hospitals need to provide good management and work conditions to attract doctors, rather than deterring them through a bad recruitment experience. This error is the last thing the NHS needs in an already desperate situation.”

Meanwhile, doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) described the situation as “emotionally and financially” unacceptable, adding that it would be seeking legal advice over the error. “There is no hiding from the fact that many trainees will have made huge life decisions based on their original offers,” read the co-authored statement from Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, and Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, BMA junior doctors committee chair. “We continue to demand that those who suffer financial losses as a result of this error are compensated appropriately.”

People Management report

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter



Related Posts

Thank you for subscribing to MedicalBrief


MedicalBrief is Africa’s premier medical news and research weekly newsletter. MedicalBrief is published every Thursday and delivered free of charge by email to over 33 000 health professionals.

Please consider completing the form below. The information you supply is optional and will only be used to compile a demographic profile of our subscribers. Your personal details will never be shared with a third party.


Thank you for taking the time to complete the form.